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Friday, October 07, 2016

Looking for More Support, New Teachers Turn to Online Communities | Education Week Teacher

"To supplement their school- or district-provided mentoring, many novice teachers are seeking support from online and social media communities." writes Madeline Will, assistant editor for Education Week Teacher and a contributing writer for Education Week. She writes for the Teaching Now blog. 

Special Report: Helping New Teachers Thrive

This special report explores the challenges facing new teachers and the ways schools, colleagues, and other stakeholders can better support them...

Every other Wednesday night, the questions and the messages of support and encouragement roll in.

That’s when beginning teachers across the country—and experienced teachers looking to help—are tuning into #ntchat, a biweekly Twitter chat geared to new teachers, in which moderators ask questions and respondents answer, sharing what’s worked (and what hasn’t) in their classroom, offering advice, and soliciting tips.

“It’s not based on pedagogy, that’s not what new teachers are looking for in a [Twitter] chat,” said Lisa Dabbs, the chat’s founder and an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne, near Los Angeles, as well as an educational consultant who specializes in new-teacher support.

Without fail, the most requested topic for a chat is classroom management, she said. New teachers also frequently ask about lesson planning and building relationships.

“I’ve found that the needs are so basic,” Dabbs said. “They’re not asking how to use the latest application; they’re asking what kind of lesson plan to do.”

Dabbs founded the new-teacher Twitter chat in 2010 after noticing that while there was a general #edchat for teachers, there was nothing on Twitter that specifically targeted new teachers, who she said need support. Since then, “the interest in supporting new teachers has grown. I didn’t see that six years ago,” she said.

New-teacher mentoring has gotten more attention in recent years from state policymakers and education officials as a way to retain teachers and improve their practices. While 29 states require some type of support for new teachers, just 15 states require support during teachers’ first and second years, according to a recent report by the New Teacher Center, a nonprofit that provides mentoring services.

Progress has been slow, the report says: Just four states—Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, and Hawaii—meet the center’s main criteria for providing and funding a high-quality system of new-teacher support. 
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Source: Education Week Teacher

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